[ kuh-mand, -mahnd ]
See synonyms for: commandcommandedcommandingcommands on

verb (used with object)
  1. to direct with specific authority or prerogative; order: The captain commanded his men to attack.

  2. to require authoritatively; demand: She commanded silence.

  1. to have or exercise authority or control over; be master of; have at one's bidding or disposal: The Pharaoh commanded 10,000 slaves.

  2. to deserve and receive (respect, sympathy, attention, etc.): He commands much respect for his attitude.

  3. to dominate by reason of location; overlook: The hill commands the sea.

  4. to have authority over and responsibility for (a military or naval unit or installation); be in charge of.

verb (used without object)
  1. to issue an order or orders.

  2. to be in charge; have authority.

  1. to occupy a dominating position; look down upon or over a body of water, region, etc.

  1. the act of commanding or ordering.

  2. an order given by one in authority: The colonel gave the command to attack.

  1. Military.

    • an order in prescribed words, usually given in a loud voice to troops at close-order drill: The command was “Right shoulder arms!”

    • the order of execution or the second part of any two-part close-order drill command, as face in Right face!

    • Command, a principal component of the U.S. Air Force: Strategic Air Command.

    • a body of troops or a station, ship, etc., under a commander.

  2. the possession or exercise of controlling authority: a lieutenant in command of a platoon.

  3. mastery; expertise: He has a command of French, Russian, and German.

  4. British. a royal order.

  5. power of dominating a region by reason of location; extent of view or outlook: the command of the valley from the hill.

  6. Computers.

    • an electric impulse, signal, or set of signals for initiating an operation in a computer.

    • a character, symbol, or item of information for instructing a computer to perform a specific task.

    • a single instruction.

  1. of, relating to, or for use in the exercise of command: a command car;command post.

  2. of or relating to a commander: a command decision.

  1. ordered by a sovereign, as if by a sovereign, or by the exigencies of a situation: a command performance.

Origin of command

First recorded in 1250–1300; (verb) Middle English coma(u)nden, from Anglo-French com(m)a(u)nder, Old French comander, from Medieval Latin commandāre, equivalent to Latin com- com- + mandāre “to entrust, order” (cf. commend); (noun) late Middle English comma(u)nde, from Anglo-French, Old French; the noun is derivative of the verb

synonym study For command

1. See direct. 3. See rule.

Other words for command

Opposites for command

Other words from command

  • command·a·ble, adjective
  • pre·com·mand, noun, verb
  • un·com·mand·ed, adjective
  • well-com·mand·ed, adjective

Words Nearby command Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use command in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for command (1 of 2)


/ (kəˈmɑːnd) /

  1. (when tr, may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to order, require, or compel

  2. to have or be in control or authority over (a person, situation, etc)

  1. (tr) to have knowledge or use of: he commands the language

  2. (tr) to receive as due or because of merit: his nature commands respect

  3. to dominate (a view, etc) as from a height

  1. an order; mandate

  2. the act of commanding

  1. the power or right to command

  2. the exercise of the power to command

  3. ability or knowledge; control: a command of French

  4. mainly military the jurisdiction of a commander

  5. a military unit or units commanding a specific area or function, as in the RAF

  6. British

    • an invitation from the monarch

    • (as modifier): a command performance

  7. computing a word or phrase that can be selected from a menu or typed after a prompt in order to carry out an action

Origin of command

C13: from Old French commander, from Latin com- (intensive) + mandāre to entrust, enjoin, command

British Dictionary definitions for Command (2 of 2)


/ (kəˈmɑːnd) /

  1. any of the three main branches of the Canadian military forces: Air Command

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with command


In addition to the idiom beginning with command

  • command performance

also see:

  • have a good command

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.